Towson coach Randy Dase said he expected unheralded Catonsville to give his seventh-ranked Generals a fight in yesterday's Baltimore County 1A-2A League game.
But many of his players didn't feel the same way.
But after getting the scare of their lives in a 12-7 win, they may never doubt their coach again.
The aggressive host Comets won the majority of ground balls, played hard-nosed defense and battled the two-time defending state champions all over the field.
Tied 7-7 at halftime, the Generals -- who had outscored opponents, 86-7, coming into the game -- got five unanswered goals in the second half to pull away for the victory.
For Dase, however, it was a shallow one.
"We told the kids that this was a business trip and to bring their briefcases," said Dase. "I guess they didn't believe us.
"[Catonsville] totally outplayed us for four quarters."
The Generals (6-0), who extended the area's best winning streak to 35 games, used clutch defense to hold the surging Comets (5-1, 5-1) to four shots in the second half.
Even so, the Generals never got their offense untracked. Despite 39 shots, they were held to their second-lowest point total of the season.
"We played terrible the whole game," said midfielder Spencer Ford, who, with attackman Dan Ross, led all scorers with five goals. "We couldn't pass. We couldn't catch. We couldn't do anything.
"No one was serious. A lot of guys took this as a joke."
Attackmen Tom Carey (two goals, three assists), Kris Lindh (two goals, one assist) and Kevin Gemmell (two goals) led an offense that gave Towson fits throughout the first half.
"We were on every ground ball, we moved the ball really well and we took it to them," said first-year Catonsville coach Warren Como. "I wanted to use this game as a gauge to see how far we'd have to go to contend in the playoffs. We did a lot of things well, but we still have to work on our clearing and on cutting down the defensive mistakes."
Improving those skills will be essential if the Comets expect to make a run at playoff time. These teams could meet again in the regionals.
Three games after playing what probably was their best game of the year against Perry Hall, the Generals played what unquestionably was their worst.
"When we beat Perry Hall, we thought that we were head and shoulders above everybody else," said Dase. "Today Catonsville came out ready to play lacrosse, and our kids were going through the motions. It will be a lesson well taken."